Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an overlay side that has a better chance of cashing than its spread, offering long term value. Here is their Side Value Play for Sunday.
The Eastern Conference Champions lost a lot more than just a game in Game 1 of the NBA Finals and they could be in dire jeopardy Sunday as those Cleveland Cavaliers (65-32, 29-21 away) again pay a visit to the team with the best record in the NBA from the West the Golden State Warriors (79-18, 46-3 home) for Game 2 from Oracle Arena in Oakland, CA at 8:05 ET in a game televised nationally on ABC, with the Warriors leading the series 1-0.
The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Golden State as a decided home favorite for this contest with the current line at -8 with odds of -108.
Entire Series Complexion Changed
Although the Warriors were decided favorites to win this series before it began, we were anticipating a tight series before Game 1 and gave the Cavaliers an excellent chance at pulling off the upset. However, the entire complexion of this series may have changed when Kyrie Irving was lost for the season to a fractured kneecap, seemingly now putting Cleveland up against it the rest of the way.
The Warriors were not the best NBA picks in the league during the season at 67-15 by accident, and the Game 1 victory now leaves Golden State an exhilarating 47-3 straight up this year here at Oracle Arena including the playoffs. Thus the Cavaliers probably need a perfect game to steal a game in Oakland, which is what they would have to do to have a chance to win this series, and those chances of doing so may have gone exponentially down with the Irving injury.
Who Picks Up the Scoring Slack?
The shame of it all is that the Cavaliers had that chance to steal a game here in the opener, playing very well and quieting the normally raucous Oakland crowd early with LeBron James going off and Cleveland building an early 14-point lead. James finished with 44 points although he missed the potential game-winning shot at the end of regulation time and the Warriors the outscored the Cavaliers 10-2 in the overtime for a lucky point spread cover winning 108-100.
But all of that now becomes secondary with the Irving news. Remember that these teams has over a week off before these NBA Finals began, and that time off did Irving, who was already nursing a knee injury, a world of good as he was having his best game of these entire NBA Playoffs in Game 1 with 23 points, six assists and seven rebounds before disaster struck.
So with Irving now done and Kevin Love already out for the season for a while now, who will pick up the scoring slack to give LeBron some help? Well, the trio of Matthew Dellavedova, Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith did an excellent job in that department in previous rounds, but that was vs. fellow teams from the weaker Eastern Conference and not vs. a Golden State defense that led the NBA in field goal percentage allowed in the regular season at 42.8 percent.
The trio combined for only 15 points in Game 1 with Smith getting shut out in the second half and overtime after scoring nine points in the first half, Shumpert finishing with only six points and Dellavedova getting shut out on the scoreboard. Even though James is the greatest player on the planet, he may not be enough by himself vs. the best defense in the league to prevent a safe Golden State victory.
MVP Showed Up, Now Will Everyone Else?
The Warriors managed to win Game 1 without a typical shooting performance from the team that led the NBA in scoring (110.0 points per game), field goal percentage (47.8 percent) and three-point shooting (39.8 percent), so the Cavaliers will really be in trouble if the other Warriors besides the league MVP Stephen Curry shoot closer to their normal percentages.
Curry did his part on Thursday leading the way with 26 points on 10-for-20 shooting, but the rest of the Warriors’ team went just a combined 29-for-68, 42.6 percent. Sure, Klay Thompson had 21 points but he went only 5-for-14 from the floor, and the entire starting Golden State frontcourt combined for 27 points or 17 points less than LeBron scored on his own.
It is almost a given that the Warriors will have a better overall shooting performance in this Game 2 considering that they have averaged 111.2 points on blistering 49.0 percent shooting in this building this year including the playoffs and that the now finished Irving is a good defender, which his probable replacement in the lineup Dellavedova is not.
Head-to-Head ATS Dominance Continued
Finally, the Warriors having ATS success vs. the Cavaliers is actually nothing new, as the very fortunate cover in Game 1 as a 5½-point favorite now leaves Golden State at 10-3 ATS in the last 13 head-to-head meetings overall including 6-1 ATS in the last seven meetings here in Oakland.
With the injury to Irving potentially crippling the Cavaliers’ chances, look for that head-to-head dominance to continue with Golden State rather emphatically building a 2-0 series lead at home over Cleveland in Game 2 on Sunday.
NBA Pick: Warriors -8 (-108)